1. Know before you go.
Understand the number of daily cases and the transmission rate for COVID in the area you are traveling to. This will ultimately determine the steps you take to minimize your risk while staying in a hotel.
2. Know what the hotel is doing.
Hotel websites typically publish what they are doing to keep their guests and employees safe during this pandemic. Larger hotel brands have likely partnered with a third-party organization to authenticate and accredit their efforts to reduce the risk of transmission.
Research what is being done specifically by the hotel you wish to book. Find out if contactless check in is available. Are masks provided and required for all guests and employees? Are EPA-registered disinfectants being used in common areas and how frequently? Are alcohol-based hand sanitizers available all throughout the hotel? Are signs regarding physical distancing and COVID-19 related policies posted in visible areas? Are guests and employees required to do a temperature screening?
If you can’t find the answers you’re looking for online, pick up the phone and ask directly. All hotels should have the answers you need to help you feel safe about your upcoming stay. If your questions can’t be answered quickly or confidently, feel free to look elsewhere.
3. Pack the “new essentials.”
When preparing your travel bag, don’t forget to include “the new essentials.” Masks, hand sanitizer, disinfecting wipes (sanitizing hand wipes are a good alternative, too), and disposable gloves are the new essentials for safe travel during a pandemic.
Double and triple check that you’ve packed all your other essentials. If you forget something like your toothbrush or a razor, you’ll have to request it from the hotel staff, which will need to be personally delivered to your room. Remember that being around others increases the risk of transmission.
4. Ask for a room that has not been recently occupied.
At the time of your reservation and when you’re checking in with the front desk, see if you can get a room that has not been occupied for a few days. While housekeeping staff disinfects and sanitizes each room after the previous guest, allowing a few days in between minimizes the risk of transmission even more. This option won’t always be available and will depend largely on the hotel’s occupancy, but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
5. Opt for private transportation.
This may not be for everyone but should you require transportation services during your travel, speak to the hotel concierge about private transportation options. If this is something the hotel offers, it will either be through the hotel or a recommended third-party company. The hotel concierge will coordinate all the arrangements and communications. Just be sure to get a confirmation letter for the transportation prior to traveling.